كَمْ مِنْ مُسْتَدْرَجٍ بِالاْحْسَانِ إِلَيْهِ، وَمَغْرُورٍ بِالسَّتْرِ عَلَيْهِ، وَمَفْتُونٍ بِحُسْنِ الْقَوْلِ فِيهِ،مَا ابْتَلَى اللهُ سُبْحَانَهُ أَحَداً بِمِثْلِ الاْمْلاَءِ لَهُ۔
There is many a man being gradually brought towards punishment by good treatment with him; many a man who remains in deceit because his evils are covered; and many a man who is in illusion because of good talk about him, while there is no greater ordeal by Allah, the Glorified, than the giving of time.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #260)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he highlights the various ways in which individuals can be deceived and tested by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). Let us delve into the exegesis of this Hadith and explore its deeper meanings in light of the Quran.
The Hadith begins with Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) stating,
There is many a man being gradually brought towards punishment by good treatment with him.
Here, the Imam is referring to those individuals who are deceived by Allah's (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) blessings and favors upon them. These people may be given worldly comforts and luxuries, leading them to believe that they are in a state of favor with Allah. However, in reality, their good treatment is a means of gradual punishment, as they become attached to the material world and neglect their spiritual growth.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) warns us in the Quran about the deception of worldly possessions and the consequences they can bring. In Surah Al-Imran (3:185), Allah says,
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) then states,
Many a man who remains in deceit because his evils are covered.
This part of the Hadith highlights the danger of hiding one's sins and wrongdoings. Some individuals may deceive themselves into thinking that their sins are insignificant or that they can hide them from others. However, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) sees all and knows all. He covers their sins temporarily, allowing them to continue in their deceitful ways. But this concealment is not a sign of His approval; rather, it is a test for them.
The Quran emphasizes the importance of seeking forgiveness and repenting from sins. In Surah Al-Hujurat (49:18), Allah says,
Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.
It is crucial for individuals to acknowledge their sins, seek forgiveness, and strive to rectify their actions, for true repentance leads to spiritual growth and closeness to Allah.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further states,
Many a man who is in illusion because of good talk about him.
This part of the Hadith highlights the danger of being deceived by the praise and admiration of others. Some individuals may be praised for their apparent righteousness or good deeds, leading them to believe that they are in a state of righteousness. However, true righteousness is not determined by the opinions of others but by the sincerity of one's intentions and actions.
In the Quran, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) warns us about the dangers of seeking praise and recognition from others. In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:264), Allah says,
O you who have believed, do not invalidate your charities with reminders or injury as does one who spends his wealth [only] to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) concludes the Hadith by stating,
There is no greater ordeal by Allah, the Glorified, than the giving of time.
This statement emphasizes the significance of time as a test from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). Time is a precious resource given to us by Allah, and how we utilize it determines our success or failure in the eyes of Allah.
The Quran repeatedly reminds us of the importance of utilizing our time wisely and not wasting it in vain pursuits. In Surah Al-Asr (103:1-3), Allah says,
By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.
In conclusion, this profound Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a reminder for Muslims to be cautious and vigilant in their actions and intentions. We should not be deceived by the temporary blessings of this world, nor should we hide our sins and wrongdoings. Instead, we should seek forgiveness, repent, and strive for righteousness. We should also not be swayed by the praise and admiration of others, but rather focus on pleasing Allah alone. Lastly, we must recognize the value of time and utilize it wisely in fulfilling our duties and responsibilities as Muslims.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and understanding to navigate through the tests and trials of this world and guide us on the path of righteousness.
Join our community to daily receive one short Hadith of Imam Ali a.s on your device.
Your message has been successfully received, and we will respond to you soon.